New Zealand insurers are bracing for claims and damage has been reported from as far north as Hawke's Bay.

A spokesman for New Zealand's biggest insurer, IAG, said claim numbers were expected to climb in the next few days and inquiries had already been made about Hawke's Bay swimming pools.

"In terms of the geographic spread of claims it seems the energy of the earthquake really did get sent north with reports from our assessors of damage to some pools in the Hawkes Bay region from water movement," he said.

"Our consumer claims teams assisting customers of AMI and State insurance received several thousand calls through the day," he said of yesterday's activity.


A Tower spokesman said the next two days were expected be busy.

"Day three and four, it will pick up," he said, identifying later this week for more claim inquiries.

IAG, whose brands include NZI, State and AMI, studied yesterday's call volumes and identified its busiest period.

"Understandably, there was a big spike in the morning from 9am 11am as people were able to first assess damage in the light of day. Call volumes dropped back a bit through the day although there was a lift late in the afternoon, possibly as some people from outside the hardest hit areas found time to consider the damage after returning from work and other commitments - including helping others with the immediate response," the spokesman said.

IAG is now expecting a big lift in calls from the worst hit area as lines of communication re-open and people move from dealing with immediate safety issues.

"We haven't heard much further north than the Hawke's Bay, but that is likely due to the nature of damage much beyond the Wellington/Hawkes Bay region being more of the type that would fall within EQC provisions," the IAG spokesman said.